by Terence Jeyaretnam

On New Year’s eve, God was speaking with his Aide.

“People are increasingly becoming more selfish, I think” said the Aide to God…”the more of them there are, the more they become self-absorbed and self-centred”.

God looked at his Aide surprised, “I can prove otherwise” said God confidently, as always…”I think they are the most unselfish and most cooperative of all species” he said.

Eli, his Aide was astonished. He’d heard the people of Earth themselves constantly acknowledge one of their key weaknesses to be their level of selfishness.  “We need to do more for the fellow man” was a common outcry.  “Well? How?” He proclaimed.

“I can get that poor couple that you see there to go through a lot of personal sacrifice of their own and to start the process of building tomorrow’s cathedral, to devote their next two decades – probably their best in their youthful peak, and to work hard to pay for it, protecting it with their all”, said Almighty.  The Aide was astounded.

God continued “I can guarantee you that they will build at least two cathedrals, if not three, and sacrifice at least yet another decade of their poor existence” he said…”this will involve decades of self-sacrifice and giving with very little personal gain”.

Eli was amazed. Then, he saw yet another one of God’s miracles. God pointed to the little cathedrals and larger cathedrals being built by people everywhere.  Cooperation and giving was the centre-piece of society.  Eli was simply left speechless.  As the New Year dawned, the people of Earth had a new hope, in his eyes.

This parable is centred on hope as 2012 begins.  The 2012 phenomenon comprises a range of eschatological beliefs according to which cataclysmic or transformative events will occur on December 21, 2012.  This date is regarded as the end-date of a 5,125-year-long cycle in the Mesoamerican Long Count calendar. A New Age interpretation of this transition is that this date marks the start of time in which Earth and its inhabitants may undergo a positive physical or spiritual transformation, and that 2012 may mark the beginning of a new era.  The cathedrals of tomorrow are our children, whose minds are our hope for the future.  2012 is declared the International Year of the Cooperatives.


Terence Jeyaretnam is a Director of Net Balance (terence@netbalance.com), 
one of the world’s leading sustainability advisory firms.
Terence is based in Melbourne.